MANY teachers are on the brink of turning to medication, alcohol and self-harm to deal with increased stress at work, teachers’ union NASUWT revealed yesterday.
More than 20 per cent of members reported increased use of alcohol and caffeine to deal with work-related pressures, the union’s survey found.
A further 7 per cent of teachers admitted relying on prescription drugs.
One respondent told the union they were taking anti-depressants as they felt “undervalued and unable to trust work colleagues.
“Stress levels have increased which has impacted upon my interaction with students and the quality of my teaching.
“I do not enjoy being in my current school and am seriously considering leaving the profession.”
A fellow teacher said: “I have developed anxiety as a direct result of the increased workload and the constant change to the curriculum and assessment procedures.
“I am currently receiving counselling and I will be having cognitive behavioural therapy as well.”
A worrying 2 per cent of teachers also confessed to self-harm.
Eight out of 10 reported experiencing anxiety and nearly 90 per cent suffered from work-related insomnia.
Another of the teachers surveyed wrote: “Overly tired, poor sleep patterns, no quality time with family, constant worry, heavy workload 70-80 hours per week, irritable and less patient.”
One in four schools is relying on bringing in supply teachers to address shortfalls in qualified staff.
Commenting on the findings, Naswut general secretary Chris Keates said: “Yet again we have shocking figures about the toll the job is taking on the health and well-being of teachers and school leaders.
“It is unacceptable that given the increasing scale of the problem, there is still no sign of either employers or the government taking any effective action to address this.
“Instead of offering support, in far too many cases we see employers introducing punitive and callous sickness absence policies.
“High-quality education cannot be delivered by stressed and anxious teachers.”